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Arts & Culture
March of the Clansmen
Scotland has a well-established tradition of Highland Games which take place in towns and villages across the country throughout the summer. One of the oldest and best known of these being the Lonach Gathering.
Clansman in 1935. Image copyright SCRAN
This year is the 168th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games held in Bellabeg Park, Strathdon on Saturday 22 August.
Originally organised by The Lonach Society which was established to raise funds to help fellow members of the district who had fallen on hard times, the Highland Games are now more commonly associated with strong men tossing the caber and dainty dancers in fine attire. What makes Lonach different is the 'March of the Clansmen' where members march in full Highland dress to open the Highland Games having previously marched around the homes of patrons earlier in the day. As George Thomson, secretary of the Lonach Society says: 'In no other place will you see the March of the Clansmen'.
These strongly held traditions are what helps make the day so special. Last year, Sir James Forbes, who has taken part in the March since 1970, was there as Patron. Originally, only members of the Forbes and Wallace clans from the district were involved in the March before membership grew to include the Gordon Highlanders and The Tweedies.
Clansmen at the Lonach Gathering
BBC Scotland's Robbie Shepherd is one of this select group of honorary clansmen after being invited to join in 1971 in recognition of his services to entertainment. This is his 38th consecutive year on the March. Robbie presents BBC Radio Scotland's Take The Floor and The Reel Blend; more details including how to listen online are available on the BBC Radio Scotland website.
Robbie isn't the only well known face, Billy Connolly brings a touch of Hollywood to the Gathering.
For more information on the Lonach Gathering visit the Lonach Society's website.
last updated: 20/08/2009 at 15:52